Remember girls’ weekends in Barcelona? A quick getaway from the kids in Rome? Holidays exploring Bangkok? Such distant memories have not only been muddled by the global pandemic, but also by the lifestyle changes it ushered in.
Crisis such as Covid19 tends to work as catalysts, accelerating already existing social, economic, and technological trends while engraining new behaviours. One such pattern has been the blurring of lines between home and work; indoors and out; online and offline; I would suggest – between our expectations from local and travel experiences.
Transformation of Daily Life and Travel Experiences
Over the past year, the geographical space occupying our everyday lives seems to have shrunk. For many, working from home and an expectation for a blended home/office future means spending most days inside our neighbourhoods whilst rediscovering spots we’ve taken little notice of before – that new deli we should try out (now that we all cook), that retro style café, or that Scandinavian boutique we must have passed by a hundred times on our way to the station. No wonder data from Barclaycard suggests buying at independent businesses has gone up by 29% over the past year.
At the same time, the geographical space occupying our social lives seems to have expanded significantly. Zoom drinks with friends we haven’t seen for years, grandparents reading bed stories from afar, and even virtual date nights across the pond, all suddenly seem oddly normal.
Looking at emerging travel trends shaped by post-pandemic constraints, new working patterns, and concerns about the climate, we see a tendency for less travel with longer stays. Call it staycations, workations, or “life shoppers,” people seem to crave the experience of experimental living in totally different environments. Such trends also imply completely different travel expectations and needs.
Staying longer not only means much deeper dives into local culture, but also the recreation of daily lives, hobbies, and passions in new and exciting surroundings. Moving beyond tourist attractions, it becomes about those great little life moments – new favourite cafes to spend the morning with your laptop, fab restaurants where people know your name, yoga studios, local produce and food shopping, friendly playgrounds and new fashion experiments.
As these trends continue to evolve, much of travel will come to resemble short-term localism.
What Does This Changing Landscape Mean for Travel Startups?
Well, for one thing, tech solutions focusing on improving and simplifying the actual journey will become even more useful. Crossing borders over the coming few years will likely involve a mixture of form filling, different testing requirements and approval processes that call out for aggregation. Some might be incorporated into airline apps, but travellers will need much better designed options.
On the hospitality side, new opportunities seem to abound. Both hotels and short-term rentals will have to adjust more of their properties for longer stays. That means great opportunities for businesses to add homely comforts and personalization. Guests would be willing to splurge on a wide range of add-ons via rented design solutions, and home products to make their longer stay more comfortable and reflective of their personal tastes and habits.
Last but not least, huge variety in destinations and lifestyles means we’ll no longer be going to the same twenty cities queuing for the same “instagrammable” spots. Recommendations, inspirations, and guides will also have to evolve as travellers will take the lead in curating their own mini-worlds!
Like everything in life, these could never be catered to by any single content source or algorithm, rather we will enjoy the personal and proactive process of discovery, tailoring ideas from bloggers, Instagram, friends to our very own passions, tastes and needs. Discovery is everywhere, and the better editing tools we’ll have, the happier we’ll be with what we bring into our physical lives.
This is why at Urbaniser, we’ve resisted the urge of providing any kind of content for our users, but rather focused on building a beautifully designed and intimate “empty space” for people to populate and truly enjoy the curation process. It’s not about where you’re going, but how you’ll make most of experiencing your personal happy places to the fullest that counts.
As we emerge out of lockdown, safe exploration and unique and memorable experiences have never been so important. This summer, it’s all about making the most of our exciting UK Cities.
Part of what makes living in or close to a city so special are the unique experiences that wait for us at every corner – the hole in the wall little finds that only we know about. City life is all about the places that are ours, with each of us naturally curating our unique city playlists based on our specific lifestyle needs and personal tastes.
We’re always on the lookout for new places to experience, whether scrolling through Instagram, reading an article, or chatting with friends. We save them online, on our phones, or on scraps of paper. But we’ll likely never experience most of them. We forget names and locations, and what we’ve saved where. We’re too busy and we’re never in the right place at the right time.
Introducing Urbaniser. Urbaniser allows the user to simply store all their favourite places on one platform with geolocations, open-source data, photos, and notes – making it more likely for the user to follow through. Urbaniser is your personal space, no busy feeds, no followers and no likes.